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ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN by Adrienne Kress

ALEX AND THE IRONIC GENTLEMAN

By Adrienne Kress

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-60286-005-6
Publisher: Weinstein Books

Alex, a short, slight ten-and-half-year-old orphan, is often mistaken for a boy. This is the first of many apparently inconsequential details offered in a long-winded, occasionally arch conversational narrative that details her trials and tribulations. When her sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Underwood, is revealed as the heir to a long-lost pirate treasure and subsequently kidnapped, Alex rides to the rescue on his trusty bicycle. Along the way, she’s chased by crazed, chainsaw-wielding docents, trapped on a train, befriended by a talking refrigerator and betrayed by a conjuror with a drinking problem. She even briefly toys with the notion of joining the bad guys. Kress’s plot is undeniably inventive and several episodes will likely provoke laughs. But, the tone is quite dark and the narrative never quite jells. Characters are broadly sketched, making it difficult for readers to care deeply about Alex’s situation, no matter how dire. Fans of fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek adventures may welcome Alex and cheer her eventual triumph. Others will likely lose interest long before she reaches her goal. (Fiction. 9-12)